|THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE
HABIT 5: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD
|“Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being? Probably none, right?If you’re like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you’re listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely.So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating.”|
I read this book many years ago and I continue to reference it at different times.This habit is one that is always challenging me and I love it. Seek first to understand…rather than to be understood. It’s such a captivating and simple idea, but it’s really tough sometimes…right? As coaches, parents or leaders, this is an extremely important idea to follow.
Some things I do to follow this habit
1. Go to a dinner, or a party and spend periods of time not talking. Meaning, I try to let other people be completely heard, let them tell their stories and I just sit in silence, listen and smile.
2. Ask other people about their feelings, their beliefs, their reflections and try to get to know them on a deeper level
3. Give myself a lil pep-talk before engaging in a conversation that might get heated with emotion, so that I can remember to always try to understand the other person’s perspective
How might you be able to follow this habit better in your life? When we can really listen, we build empathy and awareness. We give ourselves a chance to learn, grow and improve. This changes our mentality, which changes everything.
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